What is a bursa?
- A bursa is a normal part of everyone’s anatomy.
- A bursa is small sac filled with fluid usually found near or over a bony prudence. It’s job is to counteract friction between the bone and the movement muscles over the bone as they contract.
- “Bursitis” is when the bursa becomes irritated and inflamed Bursitis around the hip
- There is a bursa directly over the bony part you can feel at the top of your thigh on the side at your widest point (greater trochanter). This bursa helps to reduce friction between femur (thigh bone) and a long band running down the side of your leg (Illiotibial band or ITB)
- The bursa can be irritated/inflamed for a variety of reasons
- from a compressive blow
- chronic compression (lying on your side on hard ground)
- chronic friction of the ITB – often seen for example in cyclists from repetitive flexion and extension in the legs
- Sometimes they can become inflamed for no obvious mechanical reason
- Bursitis around the hip is more common in middle aged or older people
What are the symptoms?
- Aching over the hip mostly at the side – can become acutely painful
- Sometimes the pain can radiate into the outer thigh or groin
- Pain is aggravated with direct pressure (ie lying on that side) and going up stairs (flexion and ITB rub)
- In severe cases swelling may be noted
What to do
- See your Osteopath to make sure that you have your pain properly examined and diagnosed to ensure this is indeed the cause of your pain
- Take measures to reduce inflammation with use of lightly applied ice, and antiinflammation medications – these should only be taken under direction and supervision of a health care professional.
- Your Osteopath will probably apply treatment around (but not directly on) the area to make sure that muscles around the bursa are not too tight and causing further problems
- Your Osteopathy will help you identify the cause of your episode of bursitis and give you advice or exercises and stretches that will help to reduce your pain and reduce reoccurrence.
What not to do
- Do not irritate the bursa further with any direct pressure or massage
- Do not self prescribe exercises or stretches and incorrect exercises or poor technique will only make your problem worse
- Do not put heat on the area